Can Poodles See in Color? What do They Actually See?


Have you ever looked down at your poodle and wondered if they were colorblind? Perhaps you are planning to get a poodle. Maybe you are just curious about what types of colors your poodle can see. Poodles are interesting dogs that offer many benefits. Knowing if your poodle is able to see in color can affect your decision to purchase a poodle and better prepare you to be their companion. 

Poodles are not typically color blind and can see color. Dogs are dichromatic and see the world in shades of yellows and blues, similar to a human with red-green color blindness. Questions about a poodle’s ability to see in color may arise from it’s’ propensity to develop eye diseases such as glaucoma, Cataracts, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy. 

If you are interested in learning more about the poodles’ ability to see in color, then keep reading. I’ll l not only unpack a poodles’ ability to see in color but together we’ll discover what colors they can see. Let’s unearth where this question of poodles’ eyesight comes from and delve into some of the optical ailments that poodles suffer. 

Are Poodles Color Blind? 

Poodles are not colorblind because they can see some color. There is a caveat to this because they do not see color like humans. In fact, if a human were to see the way a poodle does, it’s probably true that the person was partially colorblind

Poodles don’t see in black and white. However, they do not see the same array of colors that humans see.

So, what do dogs see when they look at different colors?

  • Dogs are dichromatic, which means they see the world in shades of yellows and blues
  • The blue-green spectrum will probably look like varying shades of blue to poodles.
  • Shades of red and green are hard for dogs to discern and will probably look more dark grey to them.

So, as I stated earlier, dogs perceive are likely on a spectrum of yellows and blues. Think about if you were looking at everything through a greyish haze. 

Like a smoggy city, or a foggy morning. 

In our discussion about the poodle’s eyesight, we often compare it to the eyesight of humans. This will help you in comprehending how your poodle sees the world. 

In a certain sense, it isn’t incorrect to say that poodles are colorblind; however, this might be a mischaracterization. In general, poodles see the same sorts of colors that any other dog breed sees. When discussing anatomy, and especially a dog’s anatomy, it’s important to state that there are exceptions to everything. Keep reading. You will find all this information below. 

What Colors do Poodles Actually See? 

We’ve established that poodles can see color. But, we’ve also stated that if judged in human terms, they would be considered partially colorblind. Confusing right? 

The best way to clear this murky water is to describe exactly what your poodle can see when they look out over your glorious yard (or pavement, if you live in the city). 

How Does Your Poodle See Color? Some Real-World Examples

Here it is important to point something out: poodles’ eyesight is not that different from any other dog breeds’ eyesight. The best way to understand what colors your poodle can see is to explain by giving some real-world examples your poodle may come across. 

Here are some things your poodle might see:

A Green yard 

Your poodle likely sees a yellowish color. Perhaps comparative to a drying straw field in late summer. Or even, dying grass. 

A Red Squirrel

Red is one of their more difficult colors to perceive. They likely see a darker grey. All squirrels are grey squirrels in a poodles’ world.

A Blue Lake or Ocean 

A dog will see it more as you do! Blue! Your poodle sees this color well.

His Owner or Another Human

This one is hard to tell. But they probably see you as you are, just with a little bit of a haze. 

What Color is a Poodle Most Attracted to?

Poodles are generally attracted to brighter colored objects with blue or yellow being the easiest colors for them to see. Because their overall color vision is muted, something that has more pigment is going to be easier to see, and therefore be more interesting. 

However, there probably isn’t exactly one color that poodles seem to like better than others. However, they do seem to avoid red and brown, because these colors tend to be more muddled, and difficult to observe.

When choosing something in a specific color for your poodle, Color will make the object more attractive to them. Nevertheless, poodles aren’t exactly picky when it comes to colors but bright colors are better attention getters than darker ones. 

Will My Poodle Become Color Blind Later in Life? 

It may be assuring to know that your poodle can see some colors. Perhaps you are now asking: That’s great, my poodle can see color as a puppy, but what about as my poodle get older. Will they still be able to see colors then? And will he be more susceptible to color blindness than other breeds of dogs might be?

This is a great question. Let’s explore further. 

Just like humans, as poodle ages, it is perfectly normal and expected that they will have some decline in their vision. However, A poodle will not go colorblind as they grow older nor are they more susceptible to color blindness than any other dog breed.

Thankfully, dogs have a great sense of smell. They rely on their sense of smell far more than humans do in their daily lives. So although they likely will see a decline in their ability to see as they age, they will compensate for this with their nose. 

Pretty great, right? 

Are the Different Types of Poodles (Toy, Minature, or Standard) More Sucepitable to Eye Problems? 

Maybe you’re figuring out which dog breed is the best fit for your family. Poodles are definitely a great choice. They are smart and athletic and do well in many different home environments. If you’ve settled on a poodle, I congratulate you on a great choice. But now, the question is: what type of poodle? Are there differences in which size best sees color?  Let’s go over this in more depth. 

Not all poodles are the same. There are longhaired poodles and shorthaired poodles. There are Standard, miniature, and toy poodles. All these different characteristics have their pros and cons. 

As far as colorblindness, there doesn’t appear to be much variation among the various types of poodles. However, you should be aware of a few eye problems that can affect each poodle type differently.

Before we even get into the different poodle breeds, let’s just go over some characteristics that affect poodle eye health first. 

  1. Poodles with lots of hair around their eyes are going to be more apt to have eye irritation and debris that clouds their vision.
  2. Some types of poodles suffer clogged tear ducts. It is a good idea to discuss these issues with the breeder of your poodle. Ask them about a family history of eye problems. 

It’s always important to try to ask as many questions as possible about a poodle’s family history. There is nothing wrong with having a dog with some health issues. These dogs can be some of the sweetest dogs you will ever meet. With that said, the more you know about them the better you can care for them. Being prepared goes farther than you might think! 

Miniature and Toy poodles have a higher propensity to exhibit something called hemeralopia. This is a condition where your poodle will have sudden moments of daytime blindness. Your little poodle might suddenly appear disoriented or begin to show signs of anxiety. If you have a toy poodle and notice anything strange, it’s a good idea to take them to your vet. They could be suffering from hemeralopia. 

Standard poodles appear to be more susceptible to microphthalmia. This is a condition in which your poodles’ eyes will be smaller than normal. This isn’t something you can prevent, as your poodle will be born with the condition. This may not be as noticeable when they are a puppy, so it is vital that you discuss this possibility with the breeder. It could be that microphthalmia runs in your poodle’s family history. 

Do Poodles Have More Eye Problems than other Dog Breeds? 

Unfortunately, the research appears to show that poodles do develop eye problems at a higher rate than other dog breeds. If you are curious about what those eye problems are, read below. Here is a short list to keep you track. We will expound on these things in further detail. 

Poodles have a higher propensity to suffer from eye problems including: 

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy 
  • Glaucoma 
  • Cataracts 

You may have heard these terms before in describing human eye problems. If so, you are one-step ahead. These issues are similar to the optical diseases suffered by humans. 

Glaucoma 

Glaucoma involves a building up of fluid in the globe of the eye. This causes pressure, sort of like a volleyball that is overinflated. This pressure can be uncomfortable and can lead to blindness if not treated properly. 

If you notice your poodle have greater troubles seeing than usual, it is advised that you take them to a trusted veterinarian to have your dog screened for this issue. 

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

You may be familiar with the retina. Or at least heard it talked about. That is because this is a very important structure in the eye of humans and dogs alike. 

The retina is in the back of the eye and contains photoreceptors that are vital for proper vision. When your poodle’s retina begins to degenerate, her vision will become hazy, then blurry, and slowly progress into full blindness. 

Cataracts

This is probably the least serious of the three; however, it may be no less irritating to your poodle and can progress to blindness if not treated. Cataracts develop on the very front of the eye, in what is called the cornea. Basically, when cataracts develop, it causes little spots to be in your vision. Think about a lot of bugs hitting a car windshield. You can still see, but there are little specs and floaters in the way. 

Cataracts can usually be surgically corrected. Whether this is right for your poodle is a conversation best had with your family, your veterinarian, and your dog. 

These ailments may sound scary. And they are. However, it’s good to remember that dogs rely on their sense of smell for many things. Even when their vision gets hazy, they can usually compensate with their nostrils to complete daily tasks like eating and walking. 

Keep Your Poodle’s Color Vision Strong as he Ages

Maybe you are a poodle lover. After all, poodles are a wonderful breed. Maybe you are thinking: I’m my poodle’s friend and she’s my friend. I wonder if there is anything I can do to keep my poodle from losing her vision as she gets older? 

Well, you’re in luck! There are in fact several things you can do to improve your poodles’ eyesight as he ages. Most of these things revolve around overall health care. Here is a list below

  1. Exercise 
  2. Proper diet 
  3. Good sleep 

Sounds familiar, right? Just taking good care of your poodle will optimize their eyesight, as they get older. Different breeds of poodles will have different daily activity needs; make sure you know what your poodle needs. Talk to your vet about getting your poodle on a good activity schedule. 

A proper diet is understood. Do some research on the best dog foods and which is best for your poodle? Not all dogs can handle all foods.

Sleep! Yes, your dog needs it too. Make sure that your dog has a comfortable and quiet spot to get some sleep when then need to. Dogs like dens. It’s in their DNA. You might do your poodle some good to find a proper sleep area where they can go on a regular basis. 

All these basic health care ideas will maximize your poodles vision and maybe even help them to perceive color for a little longer. 

It is important to state here that nothing we have listed is guaranteed to help your poodle’s vision. Some dogs are genetically predisposed to having eye problems, and there isn’t much to be done about that except making your companion comfortable. 

Keep reading if you are looking for other ways to optimize your poodle’s vision throughout their life. 

What Are Other Ways to Optimize Your Poodles Color Vision? 

Now that you know your poodle likely can see some colors, it’s good to ask what changes you could make to your poodle’s environment to raise his quality of life.

You can do a few basic things to help your poodle’s vision.

  1. Consider buying them toys that are yellow and blue. They see these colors well. Also, consider getting rid of their red toys, as they don’t see these as well. 
  2. When talking to and interacting with your poodle, stand in front of them where they can see you clearly. 
  3. When playing with them and interacting with them, be sure to engage your poodles other senses too. 

Maybe you’ve been throwing a ball for your poodle and they don’t seem interested. Alternatively, maybe you bought them a new squeaky toy and they just give it a sniff and move on. While much of this could be the natural tendency of your poodle’s personality, it could also mean that you have some unstimulating toys. 

Try an experiment and get your poodle some blue and yellow toys. You may be surprised at how much more interested they become. However, if your poodle is still not interested, it may be time to employ some other techniques to boost their enjoyment during playtime. 

Consider using some of their favorite foods and applying small amounts toys. They may be more used to chasing after particular smells than they are particular sights. Many hard chew toys out there are made with smells infused into them. This may be the key to unlocking your poodles more playful side. 

Of course, use common sense when purchasing any type of toy for your poodle. It’s important to do some research and make sure you’re not giving your poodle anything with harmful chemicals. 

The conclusion of Poodle Color Eyesight and Color Blindness 

We hope you feel a bit more informed about your poodles’ vision and ability to see color. It is important to note that every dog is different. This goes for poodles too. Some dogs, just like people, could be more color blind than any other dog. Dogs are individuals. 

This also goes for some of the diseases we discussed. Yes, it appears that poodles are more prone to develop eye problems. However, this does not mean that every poodle will have eye problems, or that these issues will manifest themselves in the same way for every dog. 

Approach your poodle as an individual. If you suspect your poodle is completely color blind, or that they are having more issues with their vision than normal, then it is wise to take them to your vet to see if there is anything that can be done to help. 

Poodle are wonderful dogs. Even with some eyesight troubles, they will be great companions. If you remember to view your dog as an individual and to try different things, it is likely that they will be very happy as a member of your family. 

Poodles are also incredibly smart dogs. What they lack in eyesight they most certainly make up for in their other senses!

Brent Hartman

I'm Brent Hartman. I've been a dog lover my entire life and have owned many animals over the years. When my black lab Angus passed away, I was looking for another friend to share my life with. As a result of my research, I've come to love poodles and wanted to share some of what I've learned with you. Whether you're looking to adopt a poodle, or already own one, I created Poodle report to be the ultimate guide to help you find the answers you need.

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